In this past three years, I’ve learned an incredible amount of…tips. With all of the amazing advice out there, I decided to #payitforward and show you exactly how many truly confusing and insane “rules” are being touted as Set In Stone Things Authors Should or Shouldn’t Do. I’m sure many of you have seen a lot of these and if you’ve been sitting around, scratching your head or even possibly cussing up a storm–you’re not alone. There’s no easy way to begin and I’m sure I will miss quite a few, so I’ll jump right into it with the bits that frustrate me beyond belief. (Feel free to comment below with your own confusing tips and frustrating tidbits that drive you crazy.)
Don’t: Express your own opinions UNLESS your opinion coincides with the “majority”. You could offend readers and lose your fan base.
Don’t: Get into ANY conversation about politics or religion UNLESS your point of view agrees with the “majority”. You could offend readers and lose your fan base.
Don’t: Talk about your own personal beliefs of world/current events UNLESS you share the same beliefs with the “majority”. You could offend readers and lose your fan base.
Don’t: Tell people anything truly personal about you, but connect with people on a personal level and grow your fan base.
Don’t: Have gift card contests for people who have reviewed your book(s) because that “borders on paying for reviews”. BUT pay a site such as a high-priced, well-known site to gather reviews for you.
Don’t: LOOK at reviews.
Don’t: SPEAK about reviews of your books to anyone on social media.
Don’t: For ANY reason whatsoever EVER comment on any review someone has given you. EVEN if you want to say ‘thank you’. You are to have NO opinion, no emotion, not one damn bit of interest in any review whatsoever or you will be labeled as an author behaving badly who has “too much time on his/her hands”. BUT make sure you’re nice to people who have given praise to your book so that you can grow your fan base.
Don’t: Give away books. You book is worth so much!
Don’t: Price your book at 99 cents. Your book is worth so much more than that and “readers won’t take you seriously”. (Bullshit) BUT if you price it past $2.99 for a certain amount of pages, there are readers out there who won’t buy it. If you price it any higher, people will rip you apart about the price. **Point** Any price you choose will be picked apart and analyzed.
Don’t: Write about things you don’t understand.
Don’t: Write books based solely on things that you understand.
Don’t: Write “trendy” books.
Don’t: Write anything that goes against the current trend or you won’t make any money.
Don’t: Overshare your links, book covers, blurbs, etc.
Don’t: Forget to share your links, book covers, blurbs, sales, etc EVERY damn hour in hundreds of Facebook groups because hundreds of other people share their links and bury yours.
Don’t: EVER have an opinion about your horrible experience at a publishing house (small or large). Even though chances are: if they screw you over, they’ll screw someone else over. But don’t worry about anyone else. Keep your mouth shut.
Don’t: Forget to write your stories with passion. Be crazy. Be outrageous. Grab their attention.
Don’t: Write social media posts full of passion or express strong beliefs in social media posts. People will think you’re a nutjob.
Don’t: Stop writing. Crank them out like a machine! Ass in chair!
Don’t: Put books out too quickly or people will say you didn’t spend enough time on your books.
Don’t: Write series books.
Don’t: Forget that readers LOVE series books.
Don’t: Write a cliffhanger!
Don’t: Forget that people watch tv shows every day of the damn week that end with CLIFFHANGERS and they keep coming back for more…every week, every season, every year.
Don’t: Make your books available through only Amazon.
Don’t: Put your books on places where you won’t make any sales.
Don’t: Get into an argument with another author. EVEN if another author is acting like a despicable human being.
Don’t: Show your strong convictions. You could offend someone. Save that for your books. Readers don’t want to know about you personally. Not your beliefs or your morals.
Don’t: Jump on any bandwagons to support anyone else.
Don’t: Tolerate behavior by “bullies”. That’s not a bandwagon (It’s okay to join that group of bully bashers even if you are in fact acting like a bully to the “bullies”. Because you are standing up for the good.)
Don’t: Ask people to vote for your book on any list.
Don’t: Forget to convince your fans to vote for your book.
Don’t: Ask for reviews or likes. That seems desperate and you’re “gaming the system”. Just let your book sit there among MILLIONS of other books. If your book is truly great it will shine so brightly that everyone will find it.
Don’t: Let your book be smothered by every book within the same genre. Make sure you do something wild and outrageous to get your book noticed.
Don’t: Forget to set up a newsletter.
Don’t: Forget to have a monthly giveaway for “one lucky newsletter subscriber” but don’t give away prizes on Facebook to random followers and fans (that seems desperate).
Don’t: EVER disagree with a reviewer in public or on social media.
Don’t: EVER agree with a reviewer in public or on social media.
Don’t: Forget to become great friends with reviewers in public and on social media.
Don’t: Give out swag. It looks like you’re trying to buy readers.
Don’t: Forget to pass out swag to your readers. Readers love swag.
Don’t: Pay for blog tours. People will help you get the word out because they are kind souls who LOVE their readers and author friends.
Don’t: Expect other authors or bloggers to help you for free. Their time is valuable too.
Don’t: Forget to budget in a tour company so that your book can get the best exposure.
Don’t: Share pictures that could offend someone.
Don’t: Forget to share as many naked/half-naked/borderline pornographic photos as you can. Readers LOVE pictures. Especially photos of naked, sweaty men standing in front of a stove or on a saddle or a chair or wearing boots and nothing else. Because that’s sexy.
Don’t: Forget to share links for other authors. “You scratch my back…”
Don’t: Share links for everyone else because your book won’t be shared in return. People will only see everyone else’s links, books, etc.
Don’t: Bother going to Goodreads. There are TRAPS on Goodreads meant to take an author down. Goodreads is Hell for authors.
Don’t: Forget to get your book cover and buy links posted on Goodreads as soon as possible for optimal exposure for your book.
Don’t: EVER return to Goodreads AFTER you’ve posted your book cover, buy links, etc. Stay away! They’ll come after you for peeking in the doorway.
Don’t: Forget to get your book listed on as many “Vote For” lists as possible on Goodreads.
Don’t: Disagree with ANYONE on Goodreads. Don’t even speak to them.
Don’t: Forget to stay on “their” good side on Goodreads.
Don’t: Pay FB to “boost” your author page. It doesn’t work.
Don’t: Forget to give away TONS of stuff on FB so that your author page posts are seen by as many people as possible.
Don’t: EVER make a list of tips to help another author. No one taught you what to do, they can learn on their own too.
Don’t: Forget to pay it forward and help other authors just like you.
Don’t: Complain about pirates and piracy.
Don’t: Forget to send your take down notices to pirate sites.
Don’t: Forget to sit in your office/writing space and write. That’s all.
Don’t: Forget to write blog posts as often as possible.
Don’t: Waste your time writing anything other than your next great book.
Don’t: Forget to be funny.
Don’t: Try to be a comedian who is really great at sarcasm. People will think you’re a bitch.
Don’t: Share the drama of your life. Readers only want their drama in books.
Don’t: Forget to let your readers know every time you have a sniffle. Readers love knowing you’re human too. And you can gets lots of sympathy/sales by sharing your daily (hourly) activities and difficulties with readers.
Don’t: Forget to share really dramatic moments with LOTS of exclamation points and photos of fireworks. Readers love fireworks.
Don’t: Share pictures of fireworks. Some people hate fireworks because their pets hate fireworks.
Don’t: Share pics of Summer. Some people hate Summer.
Don’t: Share pics of Fall or Winter. Some people hate Fall and Winter.
Don’t: Forget to share your favorite time of year with readers.
Don’t: Share your favorite time of year with readers because they might disagree and you could offend them.
Don’t: Say that you don’t like the song “All About That Base” because that offends curvy women…(even though the song lyrics seem to blast ‘skinny bitches’) and the song isn’t really friendly to any women whatsoever.
Don’t: Forget to share links to the songs that readers love and link them to your book in some way so that readers will see you’re just like them.
Don’t: Forget to be yourself. Readers love it when you don’t pretend to be something you aren’t.
Don’t: Forget that you are always “on”. Your life as an author/character never stops. There’s no room for real emotion.
If none of these have ever crossed your line of sight, never been part of your conversations…you’re lucky. I’ve heard just about every possible confusing and crazy bit of advice out there.
If I were to analyze most of these tips, I’d come away with one belief:
Authors are supposed to sit at a desk, have only popular opinions, share none of their own beliefs, read no reviews, pretend to be a character (not a real person) so readers will love them, share naughty pics but share nothing of worldly importance, shut up, say nothing and write your damn books.
And I wouldn’t listen to any of it.
Make your own rules.
Write the stories YOU want to write.
Doesn’t that seem a lot easier than trying to keep up with the rules set by other authors and reviewers? I think so.
Let me know about the “rules” you’ve been given. Do you follow them?